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Preview: Pittsburgh at St. Louis
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 27, 2015
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL in total offense through two games, and they have another weapon on the way. All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell returns from a two-game suspension Sunday when the visiting Steelers face the St. Louis Rams for the first time since 2011.
Bell, who led the AFC with 1,361 rushing yards a year ago, sat out the first two games while serving a suspension for a marijuana conviction, but new acquisition DeAngelo Williams ran for 204 yards and three TDs in his absence. “(Williams) has been a good asset and acquisition for us,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. “He’s working hard to compete and contribute in all areas. … We are excited about having both guys.” St. Louis was impressive on both sides of the ball in a 34-31 win over Seattle in Week 1 but sputtered in last week’s 24-10 loss at Washington. Facing Pittsburgh’s beefed-up rushing attack will be a concern for the Rams, who rank 30th in the league against the run – allowing 153 yards per game.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -1. O/U: 47.5
ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-1): Ben Roethlisberger has put up big numbers through two games, ranking second in the NFL with 720 passing yards, and needs 223 more to become the fifth active quarterback to surpass 40,000 career passing yards. Antonio Brown (18 receptions, 328 yards, two TDs) has been Roethlisberger’s favorite target, but five players have at least five receptions and Bell is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. The Steelers had a tough time stopping Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the season opener, but the whopping 385 total yards per game they have given up is skewed by the large chunks allowed late in last week’s 43-18 rout of San Francisco.
ABOUT THE RAMS (1-1): After passing for 297 yards and a touchdown and rushing for a score against Seattle, offseason acquisition Nick Foles took a step backward versus Washington, going 17-of-32 for 150 yards and a TD. The running game has stalled while awaiting the debut of first-round pick Todd Gurley (knee), as receiver Tavon Austin leads the team with 57 rushing yards. The Rams boast a strong pass rush led by Pittsburgh native Aaron Donald, but they were gashed for 182 yards on the ground last week and will have to be much stronger against the run to be successful in stopping the Steelers.
1. Roethlisberger has recorded 107 wins as a starter, tying him with Terry Bradshaw for the most in franchise history.
2. Rams LB James Laurinaitis (914) needs two tackles to surpass Merlin Olsen as the franchise’s all-time leader.
3. Brown has at least seven receptions in an NFL-record 13 consecutive games, averaging 8.7 catches and 116.5 yards with 10 TDs during the streak.
PREDICTION: Steelers 31, Rams 24